Medical Work in America: Essays on Health Care

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9780300041583: Medical Work in America: Essays on Health Care
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Present-day health care policies in the United States are moving toward a system in which patients will be treated like industrial objects by doctors forced to work mechanically, says the distinguished medical sociologist Eliot Freidson in Medical Work in America. He offers a number of controversial proposals designed both to reduce costs and to avoid such dehumanization.
In a series of essays that includes some of his classic work as well as significant new material, Freidson discusses the doctor-patient relationship, relations between physicians in various forms of medical practice, and the forces now reorganizing medical work. He shows how increasingly restrictive health insurance contracts insert a new, problematic element into both doctor-patient and colleague relations, and how bureaucratic methods of controlling medical decisions affect those relations. Finally, Freidson advances some basic principles to guide health care policy. He emphasizes that the physician's freedom to exercise discretion is essential if patients are to be treated as individuals rather than as administratively defined diagnostic categories. His recommendations include eliminating fee-for-service compensation, controlling health industry profits, and limiting the external administrative regulation of medical decisions while organizing medical work in such a way as to maximize effective and responsible self-governance.

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For this reason, while its concern is with health care in general, this book focuses on the medical profession and the medical practitioner in particular. Its essays address the social characteristics of medical work in America, how today's economic and administrative pressures are changing that work, and what choices both the public and the medical profession now face.

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9780300041576: Medical Work in America: Essays on Health Care

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ISBN 10:  0300041578 ISBN 13:  9780300041576
Publisher: Yale Univ Pr, 1989
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